A modern yoga teachers take on Community and Sangha | how yoga teachers infuse community throughout cities
For the month of February, we are featuring moments of LOVE, COMMUNITY, & BALANCE. Perhaps community is an innate attribute within ourselves, starting as early as Paleolithic beings. Read our latest opinion piece by our hOMie, Delphina, on the concept of Sangha and how it can be applied to our modern times and not only apply to Buddhist or Yoga communities.
As humans we have the inherent desire to flock together, to form bonds with one another, to share space, and to feel connected.
As Paleolithic beings, before we could even form full sentences we sought community.
Most species in the animal kingdom create their own communities and develop their own rituals, habits and practices together.
If we dive into what community means on a deeper level, we begin to explore the beautiful bond of love, which allows us to experience our own powerful spirit and the potent, united spirit existing within all life. Simultaneously, we carry this love and wholeness within ourselves and need not be reliant upon others to make us feel happy or complete.
This is where the term Sangha comes into play.
Yogapedia defines Sangha as a Sanskrit word that means:
"association," "assembly," "company" or "community"
It was originally used to describe the Buddhist community of ordained monks and nuns.
Sangha is also closely connected to yoga - the shared sense of community among yoga practitioners. Typically yogis come together to further their development of Self through shared spiritual practices under the guidance of a yoga master, though Sangha doesn’t always have to exist in this original context.
Sangha is not simply congregating in an ashram. It can consist of social justice marches and many other ways of coming together to create mutual energy and power.
This cultivated energy is enhanced ten-fold by every single individual present!
For me, this is a great gift. As a yoga teacher, dancer and artist, I thrive when I’m supported and trusted with the work I produce, especially when I’m surrounded by a like-minded community.
I believe that this model of Sangha, which transcends the typical ‘workplace’ mentality, is the very thing that has allowed us to bring yoga and wellness to so many communities around NYC.
It’s a trickle down effect: By developing a similar mentality and energy amongst ourselves within the workplace, we are able to positively influence our students.
I am amazed at how my students open up and begin to connect with each other even though they never met before attending class!
There’s a shared bond in the challenges that come about in a yoga practice, like falling out of a pose and then laughing at yourself, knowing that you can fail, pick yourself up, and realize you are stronger because of it.
In success or failure, when I have the unshakable foundation of support and acceptance (and that I can be that support likewise for my colleagues and students), I feel that I’m truly participating in the essence of Sangha.
Property Liaison, Yoga Teacher, Dancer